These days, there's no quicker way to be labelled an "anti-Semite" than to complain about Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, or that country's approach to diplomacy (read: bombing the crap out of everyone they don't like.)
It doesn't matter how adamantly you try to explain the distinction between your attitude toward the Jews as a people versus the Israeli government's treatment of other populations -- according to those on the Right, you're just a Jew-hating, anti-Semite and that's the end of the discussion.
This is more than a little ironic since those very same hard-right conservatives suffer from exactly the opposite problem -- while they will staunchly defend Israel (the country), when it comes right down to it, they don't much care for Jews (the people).
As a recent example, remember this? Of course you do. Reading all of the news reports, it seems that one could conclude that the very same people (on the Right) who couldn't be happier about the current Israeli bombing campaign just couldn't wait to drive those nasty kikes out of town. How curious. How odd. And, of course, it just gets better.
Go a little bit further to the right, and you end up deep in white supremacist country. You know -- the Aryan Brotherhood, cheery folks like that who like to sport swastikas and the like. Under the circumstances, it's pretty ballsy for serious conservatives to accuse those of us on the Left of anti-Semitism. But, when you think about it, the apparent contradiction is pretty simple to understand.
It's all about Armageddon. The "End Times." Which means that all of those rabid, fundamentalist loons can embrace the state of Israel, even while they continue to despise the Jews that live there. It's really not that difficult a concept, once you think about it.
As one final example, one need look no further than this morning's Globe and Mail, and a column by right-wing whackjob Marcus Gee, in his piece predictably entitled "Why we must stand with Israel." Predictable, but just a bit odd since, in that entire piece, Gee refers to the state of Israel by name some sixteen times, yet does not use the word "Jew" or any variation of it even once.
OK, that's not quite true, as you can read in Gee's very last sentence:
What the world needs to do is recognize the new reality and stand with Israel as it combats this remorseless enemy -- a threat not just to the Jewish state but to the whole democratic world.
So Gee finally manages to choke out the word but, as you can see, he is simply referring to the "Jewish state" -- that being Israel, of course. That's impressive, isn't it? Writing an entire column about Israel and managing to avoid referring to its inhabitants even once. That, folks, takes talent.
And that's why Marcus is a professional columnist and you're not.
BONUS SNARK AT NO EXTRA CHARGE: It's trivially easy to find prominent examples of right-wing anti-Semitism. Here, we learn of the SBC's Dr. Bailey Smith, claiming that "God Almighty doesn't hear the prayers of a Jew." Yow. Getting a bit territorial there, are we, Doc?
And, of course, there's the staunchly pro-Israel Rev. Jerry Falwell, who nonetheless has claimed that the anti-Christ is probably alive today, and is a male and Jewish. Is it irresponsible to speculate that it's Jeffrey Goldberg? I'm guessing it would be irresponsible not to. But that's just me.